Beyond end lines and into the community

Victoria Arguelles, Staff writer

On the morning of August 16, Coach Matt Dixon arrived at Miami Children’s Hospital with 16 of his varsity football players and four wheelbarrows filled with stuffed animals and toys. Teachers and other football players donated the toys and the football team collectively decided to carry out the donation.

“This football program knows how important they are to the community as role models,” Coach Dixon said. “We’re trying to give back to the community.”

A group of 16 went room to room at the hospital, delivering over 60 toys to children. Many of the children had undergone serious surgeries, one specific child had recently received open-heart surgery and was elated to receive a plush teddy bear from one of the boys.

“My favorite part was when there was a girl who really liked Minnie Mouse, and she was getting an IV, and I walked in there with a Minnie Mouse and she got instantly happy,” senior Desean Cannon said. “It made me really happy to see that.”

The majority of the boys agreed that at first they were slightly uncomfortable being around sick children, and didn’t know how to react. It didn’t take long for them to realize what a great impact they made.

“I was kind of disturbed at first, but then I began to be grateful of what I have,” Cannon said. “It made me look at my life differently.”

For most of these football players, it was their first time going out into the community and giving back. Senior Daniel Crusan, had taken part in other service projects with his church, but going to the hospital with his teammates and delivering toys was his favorite experience yet.

“It really makes you look at your life and shows you how grateful you should be for what you have, because other people aren’t as fortunate as you are.” Crusan said. “I didn’t have an individual favorite part, but just giving as a whole made me feel good about myself.”

This was senior Dawayne Pruitt’s first community service project. Dawayne decided his favorite part was, when he stood in the hallway passing out toys as children walked by. He loved seeing the kids smile and knowing they caused that joy.

With such a great outcome, Coach Dixon plans on returning to the hospital some point and feeding the homeless during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“We really just want to give back to the community.” Dixon said. “These guys are more important than they think.”